[Marxism] On organization (was Leninism)

Anthony Boynton anthony.boynton at gmail.com
Thu Feb 9 17:40:57 MST 2012

On organization

Organizational problems have political solutions. No amount of tinkering
with organizational charts and procedures by itself will create a
revolutionary movement, a revolutionary party or a revolutionary

This means that the type of organization needed to lead a revolution must
respond to real conditions and the real needs of a revolutionary social
movement. And, since those conditions and needs are continually change, the
organizational form must continuously change.

Leading the working class and oppressed is not an academic exercise to be
solved in a university classroom, a CIA think tank, the living room of a
self appointed revolutionary leadership, or even in the open debate of
Louis Proyect's virtual parlor. Revolutionary leaderships arise out of
revolutionary struggles, reformist leaderships arise out of reformist
struggles. When a reformist struggle changes into a revolutionary struggle,
the reformist leaders divide: some become revolutionary leaders, others
become counterrevolutionaries (too many usually).

Anyone who wants a revolution should find a way to participate in the
struggle of the working class and the oppressed. Anyone who wants to build
a revolutionary leadership should fight for the struggle they are in to win
its immediate goals. In doing so organization will become necessary. When
the immediate struggle ends the organization may continue. Trade unions,
working class political parties, and radical political sects (anarchist,
communist and what have you) are the large scale examples of this process

Whether or not those remnants of each wave of struggle can contribute to
the next wave of struggle is an iffy question. More often than not these
remnants adapt themselves to the ebb tide of the struggle, change their
ideas, become complacent, become bureaucratic meal tickets for psychotic
leaders, become negotiators rather than fighters, and very often become

This is not to say that organizational issues have no place in the
discussion, or that the remnants of earlier struggles are unimportant. The
remnants carry the memory and the lessons that each new struggle needs to
avoid repeating past mistakes and to solve new problems more quickly and in
the best way. this is why the old codgers on this list have some value
aside from writing movie reviews and making sarcastic comments. The
organizational form of a struggle has to solve two ever changing problems:
fighting against the influence of the enemy within the movement - often in
the form of undercover police and provocateurs, but even more often in the
form of members of the movement who are interested in something other than
winning the battle, and finding an organizational form that encourages the
creative participation of the broadest masses of people which is after all,
the best guarantee of victory.

In Bogotá, Colombia the Polo Democratico Alternativo, roughly equivalent to
Die Linke and the NAP served the purpose of advancing the struggle for
several years. however, the corruption of its leaders has led it to a very
precarious point ... maybe the pint of no return.

On the other hand, new and not very well organized struggles have developed
outside of the electoral arena in the form of student and workers strikes.
The hard kernels of past movement cadres here are for the most part outside
of the leadership of these struggles. (Partido Comunista, MOIR, PST, FARC,
ELN etc.). Whether a new organization uniting various forms of struggle
will arise, one which unites elements of the leaderships of older and more
recent struggles, remains to be seen.

Best, Anthony

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